I pretty much swore that I would never, not ever, do another season of three boys’ home-stuffed advent calendars after this Christmas, after struggling to fill 72 pockets with meaning and fun at little expense in 24 days, but what can I say? I’ve got the countdown bug, and, God help me, I’m thinking about it again for Valentine’s Day.
The spark was Beth-Anne’s post on Tuesday, with the link to EAB Design’s printable templates for a dozen cards to count the ways you love your loved ones, and now I’m in a countdown frame of mind again. We could spend February 1 making our individual mail boxes, and then send each other a dozen notes, one a day, until Valentine’s Eve on the 13th. I love the idea of us all “mailing” each other little love notes for all the days leading up to Valentine’s Day. Much better than roses. I love the idea of collecting 48 messages of love in the days leading up to what is, let’s face it, just another candy fest for the kids. The appeal is the even dozens. The image of the kids diligently writing their ever-so-thoughtful messages to each other and to us each night. The structured distribution of cards. One a day.
And that’s the crux of the appeal of countdowns for me: they are structured, predictable, easy, orderly and neat. Unlike my life. The ideal image of the kids putting thoughtful messages down on paper with clockwork predictability each evening is nothing like the reality of how much work it would take to get bums in seats and pens to paper. Sigh. The ideal image is nothing like the enormous effort it takes to even approximate structure, predictability, neatness. So I drive myself crazy trying to create neatness and order with calendars and trying to tame the force of chaos that is inherent in a family of five.
So I guess I am still debating whether to subject myself to this particular brand of self-flagellation for yet another holiday. I know that the boys would be thrilled to wake up each morning to a new clutch of notes, and I know that I will never manage to get them to write them without a battle with the forces of chaos.